Biological Theory Alliance

The Biological Theory Alliance (BioTA) at the University of Minnesota brings together researchers interested in the use of conceptual and mathematical modeling to understand biology. We develop and discuss projects, facilitate collaborations, mentor young scientists, and interact with researchers at other institutions.

Our main focus is on theoretical approaches to questions in organismal biology, though we may foray into various areas of biology, math, statistics, software engineering, computer science, philosophy, and education as appropriate. Our activities include discussing ongoing work, teaching tutorials, developing course materials, hosting visiting researchers, and conducting outreach. Our goals are to build a strong community of theoretical biologists locally, and a reputation nationally and internationally for that community and our science.

Our primary aims are to increase interactions between researchers at UMN, and to improve the visibility of UMN theoretical biology within the university, nationally, and internationally.

BioTA currently unites researchers across the College of Biology Sciences (CBS), the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), the College of Science & Engineering (CSE), the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and the School of Public Health (SPH) and is open to researchers from all other units within the University of Minnesota.

Funding provided by the College of Biological Sciences.

Current organizers: Allison Shaw, Emma Goldberg.


biota logo

About our logo: The BioTA logo was designed by Carmen Martin, a Minnesota-based artist who practices scientific illustration, observational drawing, sculpture, and graphic design. It depicts a limit cycle attractor, drawing in animal and plant species native to MN (small mouth bass Micropterus dolomieu, bluegill Lepomis macrochirus, long beech fern Phegopteris connectilis) and an omnipresent fungus (yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Theoretical work similarly attracts and forges connections among researchers with a diversity of questions and study organisms.